THE SOFT MOON: Criminal

2 02 2018

sbr192-thesoftmoon-300_1024x1024

 

Sometimes the term ‘genius’ is thrown about far too much, but sometimes it is needed. Sometimes it is the only word to use. It’s a word that undoubtedly fits Luis Vasquez aka The Soft Moon. With his record, Criminal out today via the equally brilliant Sacred Bones Records, I think it is pretty safe and accurate to say that Luis is a genius.

It’s probably been said but Criminal is his best work. As someone who has been a fan of The Soft Moon since the very start and holds some sentimental value to previous records- Criminal has taken over. It is truly one of the most powerful and magical records I’ll hear all year, that I am sure of. I love how every song feels like white noise taking over your brain and how his words eat at you. There is something so brutal and delicate about this record that holds your attention hours after you have listened to it. It stays with you and leaves an impact you have been craving for so long.

Something I really admire about Luis’ delivery of lyrics is that for the most part, they are unclear but the tone in his voice gives away just how urgent the meaning is. He has this way of just getting to the root of it all with the way he sings these words rather than what he is saying. His voice is the rumble of a thunderstorm and the music is the lightning bolt crashing down.

Criminal has really shown the strength in his ability to make music that can hit you right in the gut. It is such a perfect record, and it seems totally right that it has been released on Sacred Bones. The style of this record has the same wave of horror pouring through it like Pop.1280 which is something I absolutely adore. Pop.1280 make straight up sinister music that could scare anyone. It’s got this attractive evil and eerie sound that you cannot tear yourself from. The Soft Moon has a sound that does evoke some horror and terror, but it also carries this fragility to it. You know that these songs have come from a delicate, raw and very honest place- and I think that’s what makes it such a beautiful record. I love the aggression and vulnerability in Born Into This, and right now I think it’s my favourite but I’ll change my mind soon enough. Records like this aren’t made for you to favour one song over the rest. It is made for you to cherish each and every song in a way that is personal to you.

On this record there is definitely a shift in sound and style, and I think any band or singer that does this is to be respected. There is nothing worse than a band/singer making the same record over and over again, and not even attempting to experiment. I don’t get it at all. The best thing, as a music fan, is when a band you love just changing with each record. The bands I write about, the bands I go see at shows, the bands I love- they all do this. They all make records that sound different but keeping something similar in a way that lets you know that it is them.

I’m sure it’ll be picked up on but Criminal reminds me of the first Nine Inch Nails record mixed with Cold Cave. So basically, it is the perfect record. It’s got everything you need to comfort you and to keep you going. I reckon it is one of those records that will be talked about in years and years to come. It has something about it that you cannot love, and as a HUGE fan of The Soft Moon, it just makes you so proud of him and all he has done so far, and especially on this record. There is something here that cannot ever be replicated nor can it go unheard. It’s one of those records that when you hear it, you’ll want to turn everyone on to it. It is an absolute pleasure and joy to listen to.

It is made of moments that allow you to just be. Be whatever the hell you want, and the best song to do this to is Give Something. Everything about this song just resonates with you.

Criminal is just a fantastic record from start to finish. It’s a record that you’ll carry with you for a long time, and in some respects it may become your shield and saviour.





“….and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.”

25 01 2013

records

‘Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, *life* has surface noise.” ‘~ John Peel.

There are a few things in life that really piss me off, but they aren’t that important so I let them go. There are things I do not understand, so again, I let them go. For instance, I do not understand why a person would link their Twitter account or Tumblr account to Facebook. Why would you do that? Or, why would you watch a programme and update Facebook or whatever every 5 seconds about it. Don’t get me started on those who did the whole “IT’S SNOWING OUTSIDE” shit. I have eyes, I can see- I also have windows. Cheers Michael Fish. Pointless. These things aren’t really important because it shows how boring our lives have become. I’m not an interesting person. My daily routine consists of going to the gym for 2 hours, come home and look for jobs until I feel my self-worth leave me and I start to hate everything. I then go listen to my records and read a book. I also do a lot of writing. Writing that no one will ever see, because I can handle someone saying “Olivia, that shit you write on your site is awful please stop.” I’ll stop one day, rejoice in that. But if someone read what I wrote in my notebooks and said “Your poetry is WAAAAAAAAANK.” I don’t know how I’d deal with that. It’s probably why I’m too much of a wuss to ever get anything published, let alone read. Sure I’ve shown the odd poem/song to a few but I know they’re only saying it’s alright so they don’t offend me. Racisim, homophobia, any form of discrimination offends me. Telling me I’m crap at something doesn’t mean as much. I’ll toughen up. Lord knows I’m trying. This leads onto something, but I’ve gone round the houses to get there.

I am massively against downloading music. I hate it and I’d like to punch those that do. It’s on a par with those who use Kindles and think it is better than picking up a book. A book, made out of paper that if you drop it..IT DOESN’T BREAK. Imagine breaking someone’s Kindle..oh the sheer joy. Don’t get me started on iPads and whatnot. I’m not a technophobe, I just see how technology is making people more and more stupid; and how they cannot function unless they have some kind of gadget in their hand.

Alright so, I’m against downloading music. Why? Because I want to be able to HOLD the cd/cassette/vinyl in my hand. I want to go into a shop and interact with the staff (you can tell I worked at HMV,right?) I want to wander around for ages and find something I thought I’d never find again. I want to get butterflies in my belly when I find a record I adore. I want all of that, and I don’t want some idiot telling me that record stores are dying out, that we must download. Piss right OFF.

I’ve taken to going to the market in town to buy my records because it is truly my idea of heaven. I go there when I’m having a rough day. I take some money out of my account, and I clutch it in my pocket hoping I find something. I always do. Always. I’ve found Transformer by Lou Reed, a Sarah Vaughan LP and a few 7″ singles by The Jesus And Mary Chain. I’ll never win the lottery, but finding these and more was my equivalent of doing so. There’s something so peaceful (and personal) about going record shopping. I feel the same way about books too. I’m not really someone you want to go book/record shopping with because I can (and do) spend hours just looking; always leaving with something. I remember the first time I went to the market to buy some records, and the old man said to me “We never get any young people in here buying records” and we just had a discussion for about 20 minutes about the beauty of records. I think I’m a 70-year-old trapped in a 26 year old’s body. I was born at the wrong time, and I’ll never fit in. I’ve accepted this as not being a bad thing. I’ve always been like this.

My mum used to play a record with Scott McKenzie and Jefferson Airplane on when I was a baby to get me to sleep. I used to pretend I couldn’t sleep just so I could listen to it. It was the crackling sound at the end of every song that used to make my heart skip a beat. It was the crackling sound that made the imperfections so perfect. You cannot get this from downloading a song, you just can’t. It doesn’t feel personal. It doesn’t feel as if it was made for you.

I’m fortunate enough to be sent a lot of free music. I don’t do this to get free music, so far from it. If I didn’t write about music, I’d have no reason. I really wouldn’t. I get sent free music, but for the most part I go out and buy it on cd/vinyl as soon as its out. I couldn’t call myself a music lover and never buy music. That’d be hypocritical, and just wrong. It’d go against all I believe in, and I don’t like it when someone tries to sway me on things like this. Hate it. I’m not writing this to call out people who download or whatever. I couldn’t care less. It’s just, I know there is percentage of music lovers out there who love spending hours in record shops, holding the record and going home to listen to it.

There’s another thing that irks me a lot about this. People who think it’s alright to leak new records or to just download an album without paying for it. It pisses me off because, these musicians- their music is their LIFE. That’s how they make their money. Would you go to your local shop and steal some milk? No, you wouldn’t. So why is a shop keeper any different to your favourite musician? If they’re your favourite musician, surely you’d want to pay for the music so you could support them. Steal their music= they never make any money which means they never tour and you bitch about never seeing them. Pay for their music=they make a living and you get to see them live. For me, it’s a no brainer. The latter will ALWAYS win.

I adore the fact that so many new bands are putting their music out on cassette. I bought a few last year, and one came in the post this morning (thank you to Bek at Soft Power Records!) and I may not play them as much as I’d play a CD because I don’t want the quality to be ruined. The same goes for my records. I own two records by The Ink Spots that I refuse to play to death. I don’t want the quality to fade. These guys were around in the 30s/40s; the way their records sounds to this digital bollocks is, well, you just cannot compare at all. I will take the crackling imperfections over the over-produced dullness any day.

I have a lot of love reserved for the likes of Sacred Bones, Art Fag, Soft Power Records and Zoo Music because they put out music on tape and vinyl. It appeals to those who spend hours getting lost in record shops. Lost in their own little world and when they find something they’ve been aching to find; well, there’s nothing on earth you can compare it to. Collecting limited edition 7″ singles from your favourite band is so beautiful. When I’m 80, I’ll still be playing them with fond memories. I love going to record shops and buying a record on the day it comes out. I used to miss lessons at college and university to do this. I once did it when I bought Bleed Like Me by Garbage. I got off the bus, my mum got on the bus. “You’re home early.” I told her the truth, she said it was alright. She understands.

Last year the sales of vinyl went up, but sadly that isn’t enough to shut these gadget obsessed fools up is it. I think if you have to explain why its important, then maybe you’re fighting a losing battle. I don’t wish to convert anyone or anything like that; mainly because my words don’t hold that much power nor will anyone read this. I know if anyone does, they’ll just assume I’m a dick. They don’t know me, so I guess they’re pathetic for passing judgement. I haven’t written anything as long as this in a while. It’s a shame so many words have gone to waste, but we all need to unleash our frustrations at times don’t we.

I personally don’t think record shops are going to die out. People are still going to want to physically purchase music. There’s a record shop in Soho that has a record by The Walker Brothers that I’m going to try to get next week/the week after. I’ll be spending my time wisely (I’m using it as a reward for when I’ve handed my CV out to anyone who will take it!) Record shop owners are as passionate about selling you music as the musicians are as making it. My dream has always been to own my own record shop, but I have no money so that’s one I can just kiss goodbye. Music is such an important force. To dumb it down and make people just download music without going to a shop and buying it..it’s just really sad. You can tie it in with how society is fucked, but you don’t need me to tell you that. I’m pretty sure you can work that one out yourself.

I’ll give you some songs from bands that have put out some brilliant tapes/vinyl recently. Go support your local record shop. They need you, and you need them.





The Men-Electric.

9 01 2013

 

3714c8da

Sacred Bones Records cannot and do not ever fail. They are Brooklyn’s finest. Speaking of Brooklyn’s finest, so are The Men. Did you ever hear Leave Home and Open Your Heart? Both became instant classics. Their debut (Leave Home) is more rowdy compared to last year’s incredible Open Your Heart. They’re a band worthy of your time.

Time. Time can be wasted. Time can be enjoyed. Time can be a drag. Spend it wisely, or unwisely. On yourself, or with the one you love. The beautiful thing about time is that it is YOURS. No one can really tell you what to do, if you don’t want to do it. I don’t wear a watch. I don’t own a diary. I don’t make plans. Things just happen. I like to nap.

Electric is the new single from The Men’s third record, New Moon which is out 5th March on Sacred Bones Records. Brooklyn’s finest are about to make some noise. This is enthralling and boisterous. This is The Men ladies and gentlemen. Get to know. They will lure their way into you somehow, it might as well be now.

Electric is just as pleasant taster from the new record, and I may just be utterly biased with this, but I think it’s going to be one of the best records of the year. Just throwing that out there with every ounce of confidence I have.

Go listen! Please play as loud as you can.

 





Sacred Bones Records.

31 12 2012

sacred-bones-records

 

It isn’t a common thing to find a record label that have such consistency with the quality of music they put out. All too often many labels put out music in the hopes to make a filthy amount of money with no passion or drive behind them. It seems so very rare to find a label that have a vision of what they want to do, and have the passion to do so. Money isn’t the motive, it’s the love for music.

My love (or obsession) for Sacred Bones Records came about in 2009 when they released The Spoils by Zola Jesus. At first I wasn’t aware of the label, but within a few months I was falling in love with all the bands and artists they had on their label. This year, there is no denying that they have easily been responsible for most of the best record of the year from Pop.1280 to The Men. Everything they’ve put out this year whether it be a full length record to a 7″ single has been perfect. I say this year, but it’s clear I mean everything they’ve ever put out.

Sacred Bones Records is the home to brilliantly odd and noisy bands. The creepy vibes of Pop.1280 to the painful (I mean in a good way) tones of the genius that is, Wymond Miles. There is something for everyone on this label. They have ethereal gems, eerie atmospheric sounds and brutal spurts of energy that send you into a frenzy- from the inside out. Everything about this label is everything I love about music. It’s a home for musicians that really care about music. Musicians that make music because they love music. And with this love, you find yourself being equally as passionate to it. If I was in a band (I am musically ungifted) Sacred Bones is, hand on heart, the label I would trust to release any music I had.

A fair amount of the bands on Sacred Bones do sound quite menacing. I think that’s what appealed to me the most. I think it is obvious that Pop.1280 may be one of my favourites. They have that dark Nick Cave feel going on. Every song feels like you are being hunted down by something or someone in a desolate forest. I adore Zola Jesus to bits. I remember playing Stridulum II the day it came out, and cooking my dinner. I nearly set myself and the house on fire because I was in awe of what I was listening to. My attention was elsewhere, somewhere better. That’s always the case. I cannot listen to music and do something else at the same time, my concentration goes somewhere else. I’m not sorry about that. The world Sacred Bones has opened me up to is a world I always want to be part of. Always.

In the space of five years, Sacred Bones have gone from being an unknown indie label to being responsible for putting out mind-blowing music that so many (with exquisite taste) love.

I know many would regard Rough Trade as the most influential record label ever, and to an extent that is so true because without them, we wouldn’t have so many indie labels giving us amazing music. Sacred Bones are a platform for the weird and wonderful.

Next year, I am mainly excited about the new Psychic Ills record. I have a lot of love for them, and if I’m not mistaken the record will be called One Track Mind. Pretty cool name don’t you think. There is no doubt in my mind that Sacred Bones will have another incredible year putting out mind-blowing music that just catapults you into an insane and intense world. They give us music that must be heard through headphones with no one else around. Most of the songs sound like they should be in the scariest film imaginable. But every feeling you get from listening to the music they put out is so intense, you must simply be alone. I’m not saying you must cut people out, but it’s a rare thing to find someone who will love this label as much as you do. If they get it, you’ve probably found a friend for life. Unless they’re a total shit. If that’s the case, carry on listening on your own.

I’ve finally got round to having a fully functioning record player(the one I had for the past 10 years has died, we had a good run), and I vow to next year get as much 7″s from Sacred Bones as my bank account will let me. Which may not be a lot. I am okay with trying.

Sacred Bones are beyond just being a record label. Once you become a fan of one band, you become a fan of every band they have on their label. That’s exactly how it should be. So thank you Sacred Bones, for giving music some meaning and heart.